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Smuggling of weapons from Myanmar worries authorities
R Dutta Choudhury
 GUWAHATI, July 13 – Smuggling of sophisticated weapons from Myanmar to India has become a matter of serious concern and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is investigating one such case of arms smuggling with an effort to go to the root of the problem.

 Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that recently personnel of the Assam Rifles and Mizoram Police arrested four Bangladeshi nationals with sophisticated weapons, which proved the smuggling of weapons from Myanmar and the NIA started the investigation of the case by questioning the arrested persons.

Sources revealed that the weapons including AK series rifles were kept concealed in a farm house in Aizawl and those were brought by Bangladeshi nationals who belonged to the Chakma community. According to preliminary investigations, the weapons were brought from Phalem area of Myanmar by an arms dealer from that country, who was paid in dollars. The arms dealer managed to leave India after handing over of the arms in Aizawl.

During questioning, the arrested Bangladeshi nationals confessed that they had smuggled in arms from Myanmar an earlier occasions. Though the arrested persons were claiming that they were planning to take the weapons to Bangladesh to protect the Chakma people living there, the security agencies are skeptical about their confession.

Sources pointed out that if the Chakma people wanted to take the weapons to Bangladesh, there was no reason for them to bring the same to India by taking additional risk of evading two security forces—the Assam Rifles along the India-Myanmar border and the Border Security Force along the India-Bangladesh border. The Chakma people of Bangladesh could have used the virtually unguarded Bangladesh-Myanmar border to take the weapons from Myanmar to Bangladesh without taking the risk of getting caught by the Indian forces, sources pointed out.

Sources further said that the detection of the case proved that sophisticated weapons are still being smuggled into India from Myanmar and the smugglers could have used the route through Mizoram because it is the most peaceful state in the region. The forces are more alert in the other states having border with Myanmar because of movement of militants and the smugglers tried to take advantage of Mizoram being a peaceful state to smuggle in weapons. The NIA is now trying to find out whether the smugglers involved in the case were involved in supplying weapons to any militant group of India, sources added.

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